Dalai Lama reiterates support for Beijing Olympics, Torch

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New Delhi, Mar 29 (UNI) The Dalai Lama today reiterated his support for the Beijing Olympics, saying China, being the most populated nation in the world, deserved to host the games.

''Despite the sad events in Tibet where several innocent people have been killed, the Olympic games must go on in Beijing,'' he told a news conference here.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said his stance on the Olympic games in China remained in same.

''There is no change in my stand. The Olympic games will take place in Beijing and not in Lhasa. We are not anti-Chinese ...certainly not. We are not against the games being hosted in China,'' he added.

The Dalai Lama said his position on Olympic Torch also remained the same as the flame was part of the games.

''I have already extended my support to the Olympic games in China. My stand has also come in for criticism from various quarters. I acknowledge that.'' He said right from the beginning there were some NGOs and individuals who had expressed concern.

''The Chinese human rights record is very very poor. This is a good time and very important to remind them of their human rights record,'' the Dalai Lama said.

In order to be a good host to the Olympic games, the leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said China must improve its record in the field of human rights and religious freedom.

''It is very logical, very reasonable. So the world community, including we Tibetans, think the Chinese need to be reminded about their record on Human Rights, religious freedom and the Tibetan case,'' the Dalai Lama said.

Asked about the reported threat that some countries would boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said his stand on the games was clear.

''It is up to the countries to decide whether they want to boycott the opening function. I have no authority to issue instructions to them. I cannot dictate terms to them. I am fully committed to democracy,'' he added.

UNI AG LS BD1420

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